Thermally induced conformational changes of tobacco mosaic virus and their protein assemblies

Biochim Biophys Acta. 1975 Mar 28;386(1):1-17. doi: 10.1016/0005-2795(75)90240-8.


The measurement of the fluorescence intensity of tryptophan residues showed that a reversible transition in the local structure took place between 20 degrees C and 30c in intact virus particles and reconstituted protein assemblies of the ordinary strain and the tomato strain of tobacco mosaic virus. During this transition the overall polymer structure was maintained. In the case of the bean strain of tobacco mosaic virus, however, the fluorescence intensity did not show any transition in the same temperature range. Such a difference between different strains gave some information on the location of tryptophan residues possibly involved in the local structure change. The fluorescence polarization of intact virus particles showed no change in the whole temperature range, but the polarization of the reconstituted protein assembly of the ordinary strain showed a transition at the same temperature as the fluorescence intensity. This suggested a difference in the freedom of the local structure between intact virus particles and reconstituted protein assemblies. Oligomers of these virus proteins were stable up to 45c and above this temperature, began to make an irreversible transition where the secondary structure of the monomer was partially broken but the oligomer structure was retained.

MeSH terms

  • Circular Dichroism
  • Hot Temperature
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Protein Conformation
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
  • Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet
  • Temperature
  • Tobacco Mosaic Virus / ultrastructure*
  • Viral Proteins / analysis*
  • Viscosity


  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Viral Proteins